When I moved back to Fort Lauderdale from New York, I moved hungry. I asked everyone I knew for
their list of places I had to check out. Rocco's Tacos and Tequila Bar
tucked itself into most of those lists. Everyone raved about its
alcohol-heavy margarita pitchers and the guacamole -- made table-side in a pig-faced
molcajete. I was stoked. Of my years working in the restaurant business, over
half were with Mexican cuisine. I love the spice and flavors of
Mexican food, and I'm convinced there's no greater feeling than that
of being stuffed of tacos and enchiladas. Well, maybe cheesecake. Can Mexicans make cheesecake?
I made a reservation for their highly touted Tuesday night;
all you can eat tacos ($15), margarita pitchers ($15) and a drunken
adventure with friends (free... unless we go to jail). At 7:30pm there
was already a line of margarita-sipping patrons out the door (always a
good sign). Twelve minutes late for the reservation, the female hostess
rolled her eyes, handed me a buzzer and brushed me off. It was hella
busy and I missed managed time, understandable... but still a bit bitchy.
We headed to the busy, but inviting, bar and ordered Dos Equis lagers ($3) while taking in the rustic Mexican decor.
Like the place itself, everyone around us looked great. Rocco has done
well, making Mexican hip and trendy, with dim lights and a live DJ
playing mellow bar anthems in the background. It's the definition of
modern Mexican. Salsa and skinny ties.
After being summoned by the buzzer we headed to our big booth and kicked things off with guacamole, chips and salsa
($15). It was creamy and enough for three, but at that price it would've
been better served in a jeweled turtle shell. I know enough about
food costs to assume half of their rent is paid via haas avocados and
corn tortillas. It's good, but expensive for a starter. Note to the industry: Just because everyone else began over-charging for guacamole doesn't mean you have to follow suit.
another round of beers and margaritas ($5) and ordered all you can eat
tacos and the mole enchiladas. I think a Yelp review described the enchiladas best
as: "tasted like
mole licorice." Mole poblano is the most popular Mexican sauce in
America and with good right. Comprised of twenty-plus ingredients it's a
rich, earthy sauce with spice and depth. This on the other hand tasted
like bad a churro topping. I truly can not imagine anyone liking this.
My dinner guest ate the refried beans and left the plate for a busser. Rocco's is better than that dish.
And the reason why the place is packed on Tuesdays... the tacos, served
semi-sloppy, are all winners. You can't go wrong with any of them. I
know this because I ate eight of them. The carne asada probably came in
as king, with the grilled mahi as a close second. If you can really
eat tacos (Am I allowed to say, "that's what she said"?), it's a good
deal. But if you're going to fill up on three, just order them per
taco and save room for more alcohol. Besides, it's easier to stay skinny on tequila.
Whatever you do, know that
it is possible to feel chic and sexy while getting down on some spiced chips and chimichangas. Iron your button-up or put on your best heels, because Rocco's pouring free shots at the bar and you're thirsty as a mother. Just remember, make sure to show up on time!
Who: You and the hostess... but hopefully after she's had a tequila shot and a Xanax.
What: $1 off all drinks, no food specials.
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Where: 1313 E Las Olas Blvd Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
When: Mon-Fri 4pm-7pm (Note: Tuesday night is $3 Dos Equis, $5 margaritas, $15 margarita pitchers and $15 all you can eat tacos.)
How: With Rocco on the bar and the mole sauce far far away.